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Public Periscope

A shut and open and shut case

Just when we thought Spokane County commissioners were reforming their habits and keeping more of their meetings open to the public, they slammed the door again … A Friday morning meeting regarding controversial land near the Spokane Valley mall originally was scheduled to be closed to the public to discuss “pending litigation.”

The meeting’s status was changed to open after a story in Wednesday’s Spokesman-Review criticized the county’s meeting practices. Commissioners said the change and the story were unrelated. … Friday, a reporter arriving for the meeting was informed it was postponed. Later in the day, the reporter was told the meeting was being rescheduled for an undetermined time and date, but that whenever it is held, it will be closed. The latest explanation: it concerns a real estate transaction.

Many ways to make your point

Spokane County’s elections office is saving us $7,000 by not sending each voter a stylus to make one punch in the June 17 stadium ballot. The balloting instructions suggest a few ways to pop out the appropriate square on the ballot - a pencil point, a pen, an unbent paper clip - which are practical but, let’s face it, BORRRRING … This may be the only bet he’s missing this campaign, but Paul Allen shows no signs of offering to send every voter a “Go Seahawks” stylus. So we have some of our own favorite ballot poppers … The plastic toothpick from your Swiss Army knife. The sword-shaped swizzle stick that held the maraschino cherry and orange slice from your last foo-foo drink. The skinny stir-stick/straw from this morning’s latte. The end of the earpiece on your aviator sunglasses. The rusty nail from your remodeling project that prompted you to get a tetanus shot after you stepped on it. The pin on the back of your Lilac Festival button.

More ballot tips

It is very important to sign your mail-in ballot in the appropriate place on the envelope that takes it back to the Elections Office. (Note the arrow that says: “Sign here.”) No signature means the ballot can’t be verified, and your ballot will be set aside … You will then receive a letter or phone call, asking you to appear in person at the courthouse to sign the envelope. The unsigned or improperly signed ballots are alphabetized and set aside for easy retrieval when voters show up, said elections official Noel Elliott.

Once burned …

The city of Spokane last week hired Karen Mobley of Casper, Wyo., as the new arts director. The spot has been vacant since last October when City Manager Bill Pupo fired Carolyn Lair for lying about various academic degrees on her resume … Pupo took the task of hiring the new director away from the arts commission, which failed to verify Lair’s background. Councilwoman Cherie Rodgers asked Pupo during a recent briefing if he thoroughly checked Mobley’s academic past … Everything checked out, he said, “including preschool and day care.”

Rumor of the week

State Rep. Duane Sommers may run for mayor of Spokane. (That’s why we keep seeing him in the audience at Monday night council meetings.) … Sommers confirmed last week that he has talked to some supporters about such a run. He’ll decide yea or nay in the next few weeks.

Ride on, ride on

It is bike to work week. Workers at some businesses who are willing to put their mettle to the pedal can win some prizes … The County Commute Trip Reduction Office expects 1,700 workers to ride their two-wheelers to the office or shop.

, DataTimes MEMO: Public Periscope, which runs Mondays, is compiled by Jim Camden from staff reports.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Compiled by Jim Camden from staff reports

Public Periscope, which runs Mondays, is compiled by Jim Camden from staff reports.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Compiled by Jim Camden from staff reports

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